Russia spends $1.3 bln annually to support its proxy forces in Donbas – Yelchenko
Russia's direct financial aid to the illegal armed groups in the occupied Donbas amounts to $1.3 billion annually, according to Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Volodymyr Yelchenko.
"We have all heard on numerous occasions the Russian mantra (which was also repeated today) that the Ukrainian government should engage directly with 'representatives of Luhansk and Donetsk.' A very inconvenient truth for the Russian side lies in the fact that there are no legitimate 'representatives of Luhansk and Donetsk' freely elected by the people. The persons sitting in the administrative buildings in Luhansk and Donetsk are simply Moscow’s puppets, who are installed or removed from their positions at a whim of their Kremlin masters," he said, speaking at the UN Security Council briefing on the situation in Ukraine, held in New York October 30, Yelchenko.
The presence of Russian citizens and security personnel in these administrations, on top of provision of crucial financial and military support, "continues to this day and remains a decisive factor in running the day-to-day governance in the occupied areas of Donbas," according to the Ambassador.
"Russia continues to exercise full political and administrative control over this region," Yelchenko said.
"Moscow has created and supported the illegal armed formations in Donetsk and Luhansk. It provides them with full-fledged political, military, and social-economic support as well as ideological guidance. Their very existence is impossible without Russia’s direct financial aid, which amounts to $1.3 billion," said Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the UN.
"The Russian Armed Forces exercise full command and control over military formations in the occupied areas of Ukraine," Yelchenko stressed.
As UNIAN reported earlier, delegations of eight EU member states at the UN have called on Russia to withdraw its armed forces and equipment from the Ukrainian territory.